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|Thu, 09-25-2003 - 10:52am|
Breastfeeding, Exposure to Organochlorine Compounds, and
Neurodevelopment in Infants
Núria Ribas-Fitó, MD*, Esther Cardo, MD, PhD*, Maria Sala, MD, PhD*, M.
Eulàlia de Muga, MD*, Carlos Mazón, MD, Antoni Verdú, MD, Manolis
Kogevinas, MD, PhD*, Joan O. Grimalt, PhD|| and Jordi Sunyer, MD, PhD*
* Environmental and Respiratory Research Unit, Institut Municipal
d’Investigació Mèdica, Barcelona, Spain Primary Health Care Center of
Flix, Tarragona, Spain Department of Pediatrics, Hospital de Móra
d’Ebre, Tarragona, Spain
|| Department of Environmental Chemistry, CID-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain.
Objective. Exposure to organochlorine compounds (OCs) occurs both in
utero and through breastfeeding. Levels of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) found
in the cord serum of newborns from a population located in the vicinity
of an electrochemical factory in Spain were among the highest ever
reported. We studied the association between exposure to OCs and
breastfeeding on neurodevelopment in the 1-year-old infants of this
Methods. A birth cohort including 92 mother-infant pairs was recruited
between 1997 and 1999 in 5 neighboring villages (84% of possible
recruits). The mental and psychomotor development of each infant was
assessed at 13 months using the Bayley and the Griffiths Scales of
Infant Development. OCs were measured in cord serum.
Results. Dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethylene (p,p'DDE) cord serum levels
were negatively associated with both mental and psychomotor development.
For each doubling of a dose of p,p'DDE, we found a resultant decrease of
3.50 points (standard error: 1.39) on the mental scale and 4.01 points
(standard error: 1.37) on the psychomotor scale. Exposure to
polychlorinated biphenyls was only marginally associated with
psychomotor development. Prenatal exposure to HCB had no effect on child
neurodevelopment. Long-term breastfeeding was associated with better
performance on both the mental and motor scales. Short-term breastfed
infants with higher p,p'DDE levels in cord serum were associated with
the lowest scores on both the mental and the psychomotor scales.
Conclusions. Prenatal exposure to p,p'DDE was associated with a delay in
mental and psychomotor development at 13 months. No association was
found for exposure to HCB. Long-term breastfeeding was found to be
beneficial to neurodevelopment, potentially counterbalancing the impact
of exposure to these chemicals through breast milk.